Nov 27th 2021
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Two months after an election, a deal to form a new German government was unveiled. Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats will lead a coalition with the Greens and the Free Democrats, a pro-business party. Mr Scholz will succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor in early December. The inclusion of the Greens has put climate change front and centre of the new government’s agenda. It also pledges to build 400,000 flats a year to ease a housing crisis.
Magdalena Andersson resigned only hours after becoming Sweden’s first female prime minister. Her brief tenure ended when the Greens quit a new coalition with her Social Democratic Party in a row over the budget. Ms Andersson is expected to regain the job with the support of parties that want to keep the populist Sweden Democrats out of power.
At least 27 migrants drowned off the coast of France trying to reach Britain. It was the biggest single loss of life in the English Channel since such figures started to be recorded in 2014. The number of illegal Channel landings, orchestrated by criminal gangs, is already three times higher this year than in all of 2020. The British and French governments promised to step up their fight against people-traffickers. But it is not yet clear who will pay to patrol the waves.
Protests erupted in several European countries against fresh pandemic restrictions, as the continent battled another wave of infections. Rioting flared up in Rotterdam and The Hague after the Dutch government reintroduced lockdown measures. A big demonstration in Brussels turned ugly, causing the police to deploy water cannon. Marches also took place in Croatia, Italy and Switzerland. Austria reimposed a lockdown and made vaccinations mandatory for all its citizens from February, the first rich country to do so.
After months of stalemate, Romania’s president asked Nicolae Ciuca, a former army general, to be prime minister, heading a coalition government comprising the Liberals and Social Democrats. With one of Europe’s lowest vaccination rates, the country is struggling to contain covid-19.
José Antonio Kast, a candidate of the hard right, took first place in the first round of Chile’s presidential election. He will face Gabriel Boric, a candidate of the left, in a run-off next month. For the first time since the return of democracy in 1990 Chile will not be governed by a president from one of the established centre-left or centre-right parties.
Venezuela’s opposition took part in elections for the first time in four years. The process was “grossly skewed”, said America’s secretary of state. The ruling party won 20 of 23 state governorships. Cuba congratulated Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela’s dictator, before the results were declared.
El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, announced that the country would build a circular “bitcoin city” at the base of the Conchagua volcano. The mountain’s geothermal energy will be used to power bitcoin mining. In September El Salvador became the first country to make bitcoin legal tender.
Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister of Ethiopia, said he would personally lead frontline troops fighting against rebels from the northern region of Tigray who are advancing towards the capital, Addis Ababa. Several countries have urged their citizens to leave Ethiopia immediately.
Sudan’s civilian prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, who was ousted in a coup in October, was reinstated. He had reached a deal with the coup leaders after days of protests and 41 deaths. He agreed to allow the army to stay in charge and to postpone elections. He said he made these concessions, which appalled the protesters, to avoid further bloodshed.
The British government sought to declare the whole of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, a terrorist organisation. Britain had already proscribed the group’s military wing.
Global tennis stars voiced concern about a Chinese peer, Peng Shuai, who had accused a former vice-premier of China of sexual abuse. The allegation was scrubbed from the Chinese internet. Chinese media released videos of Ms Peng and an email purportedly by her retracting it. But doubts persisted about her well-being.
China downgraded its diplomatic relations with Lithuania after the Baltic state allowed a Taiwanese trade office to open there using the name Taiwan instead of Taipei, the name often used by the island’s missions abroad.
Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, announced the repeal of three contentious bills designed to reform India’s agricultural sector. The U-turn is the biggest of his time in office. It comes after a year of protests by farmers and just months before elections in the farm-heavy states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
Barisan Nasional, Malaysia’s ruling coalition, triumphed in elections in Malacca, a bellwether state south of Kuala Lumpur. The result is seen as a vote of approval for Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the new prime minister, who is likely to call a general election next year.
America’s House of Representatives passed Joe Biden’s $1.7trn Build Back Better bill of welfare and climate-change spending. Unlike the president’s infrastructure act, this bill currently lacks the votes for approval in the Senate.
The Biden administration asked the federal court of appeals in Cincinnati to lift a different appeals court’s suspension of its vaccine mandate. The Cincinnati court has been given the task of overseeing the dozens of appeals against the mandate.
A statue of Thomas Jefferson was removed from New York’s City Hall, after black council members complained that it was a reminder of slavery. The author of the Declaration of Independence also owned 600 slaves. The statue, a copy of the sculpture in Congress given as a gift to America in 1834 by its first Jewish naval commodore, has a new home in the city’s historical society.
This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics”